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The city is putting together a master plan to give residents access to its 500 miles of shoreline — except in Canarsie.
That’s because the neighborhood’s inclusion in a draft of the Department of City Planning’s “Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan” includes just one rather obvious recommendation for the neighborhood: the rehabilitation of Canarsie Pier.
For longtime residents like Gerry Weiner, that’s unacceptable.
“We have water on three sides!” she said. “Why are we being shut out?”
Planning officials said the draft recommendations were prepared after public outreach, including workshops, meetings with waterfront stakeholders, lawmakers and various agencies. Hundreds of comments were sent online about the plan, and the city said all the public comments were taken into consideration when preparing the draft recommendations, which were created to foster further discussion and move towards creating final recommendations.
Canarsie resident Mark Fertig, also a member of the South Canarsie Civic Association, is wondering who does have the city’s ear — especially after a $15-million project to create lush parkland along Paerdegat Basin only provides access on the Bergen Beach side of the water.
“A thousand percent we have no waterfront access,” he charged.
One lawmaker said when it comes to planning the shoreline, the problem goes way beyond Canarsie.
“I don’t think the city does enough in the southern Brooklyn waterfront in general,” said Lew Fidler (D-Canarsie).
Some residents think they know why the city is ignoring Canarsie — and it may have something to do with who lives there now.
Weiner, also a member of the South Canarsie Civic, said she suspected the area’s shifting demographics — from Italian-American and Jewish to Caribbean-American —has contributed to the neglect.
“The city should be ashamed of itself because it prides itself on diversity,” she said.
The agency would not comment specifically about Canarsie’s inclusion in the plan, and border areas like Jamaica Bay, Paerdegat Basin, and Fresh Creekare mentioned in the plan.
City Planning will host a meeting about its draft plan at Rosenthal Pavilion in the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life (60 Washington Square South in Manhattan) on Oct. 12 at 6 pm.
The recommendations are subject to change based on public input. A draft of the plan is available here at www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/cwp/index.shtml.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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